Equipment water leak shortens spacewalk by 2 US astronauts

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer Of NASA Prepares For ISS Spacewalk

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Expedition 51 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer Of NASA Prepares For ISS Spacewalk

For Fischer (wearing the space suit with no stripes), it will be a new experience - his first ever spacewalk.

The start of the spacewalk, originally slated to last 6.5 hours, was delayed more than an hour while the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration revamped plans due to the leak, which developed as Fischer's suit was being prepared. Fischer s suit itself is perfectly fine.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 1,247 hours and 55 minutes working outside the station during 200 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory, NASA said.

As a result, NASA made a decision to trim the spacewalk down to four hours, which left time for just one task, said mission commentator Rob Navias.

Whitson and Fischer are not expected to have time to complete other tasks planned for Friday's spacewalk, which included the installation of a data connector for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle detector and cosmic physics experiment outside the station.

"This was not a leak in Fischer's suit", NASA said, adding "The sharing of the SCU resulted in additional draw in battery power from the suits during preparations while in the Equipment Lock, reducing the battery power available for use during the spacewalk".

The leaky hose had to be disconnected before the spacewalk could begin. That prompted the USA space agency to shorten the outing and assign the astronauts just one task.

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Whitson, who was making the ninth spacewalk of her career, could often be heard chuckling at Fischer's exclamations.

Despite the delays, first time spacewalker Fischer seemed to enjoy the views.

Going into today's spacewalk, Whitson had logged a cumulative 53 hours and 22 minutes of EVA time over eight previous outings, putting her fifth on the list of most experienced spacewalkers and No. 1 among females with EVA experience.

The spacewalk started at 3:45 p.m. EDT on the third orbit when White opened the hatch and used the hand-held manuevering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule.

The first ISS spacewalk was performed by a pair of NASA astronauts back in 1998.

"Oh my gosh, this is lovely", Fischer said as he stepped out into space for the first time, saying his view is like "an enormous fondu pot bubbling over with piping hot awesome-sauce". NASA is especially wary of leaks involving spacesuits.

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